It rode to success on the back of a risque campaign that stressed pleasure more than it did protection—not an unheard-of strategy for a condom maker.
Now, the company behind the KamaSutra brand is hoping to use the same proposition for a range of personal-care products that will share the same name. Aniruddha Deshmukh, president, retail, J K Ansell Ltd, defined the commonality as “eroticism”.“Personal hygiene, good grooming, and fragrance are all elements in eroticism,” he said.
J K Ansell is a joint venture of the Raymond Group and Australia’s Ansell International, and has a 25% share in the Rs140-crore premium condom market. Raymond has a small presence in personal-care products under the Park Avenue and Helene Curtis brands.
The first KamaSutra product to be launched will be deodorants for men and women that will target a market valued at Rs900 crore. JK Ansell will follow this up with an after-shave lotion for men.
Deshmukh said the company would back its deodorant launch with an advertising campaign. The company hoped to gain a 10-15% share of the market in three years, he added. KamaSutra condoms, he added, were selling faster, and more than before, by almost 20%.
But sources close to the development who did not wish to be identified, said there was a slowdown in condom sales, caused by the government which, two years ago, started procuring more condoms as part of its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and popularize family planning. It branded these condoms and started pushing them through pharmacies and other retail outlets. These, the sources said, were sold at between Re1 and Rs1.50 a piece, compared with Rs5 for a premium condom.
Deshmukh said several consumers had shifted to cheap condoms. “Now, the shift seems to have stabilized; besides, thanks to a booming economy, consumers are willing to pay more for condoms too.”